In North America, there are four subspecies of squirrels. They are white-tailed squirrels, eastern red squirrels, western red squirrel, and the giant squirrel. Squirrels are also part of the squirrel family Sciuridae, which includes small or large-sized mammals.
The squirrel family contains ground squirrels, tree squirrels, chipmunks, red-tailed marmots, flying squirrels, and prairie dogs among other small rodents.
Squirrels are predators of small animals such as voles, lizards, chameleons, caterpillars, birds, mammals, insects, and even humans.The life cycle of a squirrel ranges from two to three years. Most squirrel species are small to about 5 millimeters long.
During the late winter or early spring, they become sexually mature. In most species, young squirrels are born in late spring or early summer.
There is considerable variation in the size and weight of an individual squirrel, which affects its ability to survive and reproduce. In most species, the weight of an adult squirrel is close to one-third of its total body size; but the largest squirrel, the red-tailed oriental giant squirrel, weighing nearly half its total body size, has a nearly balanced weight.
The tail and forelimb are nearly complete, covered with velvet. All squirrels have short curving quills and tail feathers. In the back of their heads, squirrels have tufts of hair generally used for protecting themselves from the cold.
Among the most common species of squirrels in the United States is the red-tailed squirrel, sometimes referred to as the masked squirrel. It is a large and beautiful squirrel with a russet body and a tail that tips backward over the shoulders. Its ruffles may be feathered, but they are usually brown and somewhat stiff.
Its two-inch ruffle of fur gives it a spotted pattern on its chest and gray ears tip that distinguishes it from other species of squirrel. It is the only subfamily of the squirrels that are not represented by a tree swallow. It is also the oldest known squirrel species and is said to have lived on earth from dinosaur times to the present day.
Among the tell-tale signs that a squirrel has been living in your home are its tree squirrel tracks. Tree squirrel tracks are delicate and are made from several small pieces of wood that are cut very close to the surface of the ground so that the individual pieces will cling to it easily.
The edges between the pieces of wood are rounded so that when the animal walks across it will keep its shape.In addition to the tree squirrel’s tracks, there are also nut crumb trails. Not crumb trails are left behind by squirrels for ants to eat. A single trail can take a squirrel four days to travel the distance. If you have seen an ant hanging around a tree, you might notice a trail of walnut hulls leading out from the hole.
This is the most common type of trail left by squirrels. The brown trails that are left behind by squirrels from a single hole are almost always signs of grey squirrels.
The family of mammals called Sciuridae includes eight subfamily members: the red squirrel, the black-backed squirrel, the white-tailed squirrel, the red-footed squirrel, the blind-land squirrel, the spotted squirrel, and the striped squirrel.
All these squirrels belong to the family of squirrels called hares and are not to be confused with the larger wild squirrels like the squirrels or mice. They are smaller than the house squirrels and have thick fur except for the ruffled fur that is the sign of their subfamily. Their range is restricted to the middle and southern parts of Canada and Alaska and a few islands in the south Pacific Ocean.
Their population numbers have been increasing slightly in the past decade, although they are still classified as being a threatened species.These beautiful animals have long been a delicacy for hunters because of their unique features and delicious meat. Hunters often trap them in logs or on islands in the hopes that a harvests more than they can eat in a day.
Many states have protected areas in which to hunt these amazing creatures and others offer a license-based sport hunting of these marvelous squirrel species. They are among the largest wildlife populations in North America with a diversity of diets and characteristics. These thirteen-lined ground squirrels are just another example of nature’s ingenious creations.